Bombs continue raining down upon Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [9/4/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack aircraft conducted two strikes in Syria:
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, one strike destroyed an ISIL oil separator.
-- Near Manbij, one strike destroyed an ISIL rocket rail, seven ISIL rockets and an ISIL mortar system.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed two ISIL rocket rails and 22 rockets.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL mortar system and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Haditha, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Hit, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 10 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL artillery piece, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, 30 ISIL boats and an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Kisik, two strikes destroyed an ISIL command and control node and an ISIL tunnel system.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL financial storage center and destroyed three ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Qayyarah, four strikes struck an ISIL weapons storage facility, destroyed two ISIL vehicle bombs and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL headquarters.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [9/4/16]:
Anbar: Ateba' Street in Ramadi is shown below.... Activists: Freeing of the cities means destroying it ,arresting people and killing them..............
Anbar: Street 17 in Ramadi is shown below....
Anbar: The eastern gate of Ramadi -from Fallujah side-......
Anbar: 8 car bombs have exploded in the southern neighborhoods of Heet resulted in 53 deaths and injuries of the government forces elements.............
Anbar: News agencies: The government army has targeted Juma' Market in the middle of Fallujah resulted in 15 deaths and number of injuries.......................
Six children killed in an ISIS land mine blast in northern Aleppo [SANA - 9/4/16]
18 civilians killed in Al-Nusra front attack in Aleppo [Sputnik News - 9/4/16]
A considerable part of Syria’s territory is under government control, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday. ... [TASS - 8/4/16]
... “In wars and engagements since America's founding, brave patriots have experienced indescribable suffering as prisoners of war,” Obama said.
“Often physically and mentally tortured, starved, and put through the worst most of us could imagine, these heroes are owed a debt we can never fully repay, and their families -- who exhibited tremendous fortitude in the face of grueling uncertainty -- are worthy of our profound gratitude.” ... President Proclaims National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day [US Department of Defense - 8/4/16]
@WenzelMichalski [9/4/16]: #WelcomeRefugees demo in Athens. Great to see Greek solidarity with desperate asylum seekers.
@WenzelMichalski [9/4/16]: "We want freedom. We want human rights. Please open the border": Emotional protest of #refugees stuck in Greece.
@WenzelMichalski [9/4/16]: #Refugees are fed up of being denied their human rights. Protesters including families are protesting in Athens.
Five migrants drown off Greek island of Samos after boat capsizes [Reuters - 9/4/16]
Migrants rescued from locked lorry in Leicestershire after boy texts 'no oxygen' to volunteer [Independent - 8/4/16]
... Authorities in Vietnam, a Communist country that likes to remain on good terms with North Korea, do not want it known that, unlike China, they do not have a policy of returning Vietnamese defectors to North Korea.
Instead, Vietnam works with the UNHCR, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to have them transferred to Bangkok, whence North Koreans who have made it through China to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos are transferred to South Korea. ... For 13 refugees from North Korea, choice between fears for families, harsh punishment [Forbes - 9/4/16]
Tamils in Jaffna protested on Friday against land survey work being undertaken for the purpose of constructing navy and army camps on public land.
Holding posters, protesters sat outside the Tirunelveli Land Survey Office in Jaffna district. ... [Tamil Guardian - 9/4/16]
Canadian youth put lives on stage in play about Rohingya refugee crisis [CBC - 8/4/16]:
... Ullah said he was born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, and that re-enacting that part of his life is painful.
"Sometimes I get stuck on my narration, because it feels like I'm there," he said.
"It feels like I'm going all over through it."
But Ullah said he's willing to endure that pain, because he wants people in Canada to understand how his people are suffering in Burma.
Rohingya Muslims are often called one of the world's most persecuted people, and are fleeing their home country by the thousands.
"They're being treated like animals," said Ruma. "I don't know why."
Ruma was also born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, and although she was six years old when she left, the memory her early years still haunts her.
She remembers soldiers – from which country, she cannot remember – coming to the place where her family was living.
"Me and my friends, we were playing outside," she said.
"We started hearing shooting noises, and then they shot one of my friends, like, in front of me. I got really scared and I ran away, but my friend, she didn't make it." ...
Myanmar army force Rohingya women to remove headscarves in Arakan State [ANA - 7/4/16]
Regional pariah Australia cares more about cattle in boats than people in boats [Jakarta Globe - 6/4/16]:
... Grigson said other forms of partnerships include the feedlot industry and skill developments, as Australia has been providing cattle to be fattened, adding that at least 40 feedlot employments opportunities are created for every 1,000 cattle arriving in the archipelago.
Grigson suggested the Indonesian government develop a decent market and create a balance between demand-and-offer, in order to maintain price stability and create more employment opportunities.
“Live cattle import, fattening and processing is already a big job creator for Indonesians and if exports are possible, more jobs will be created in the future,” said Grigson. ...
Indonesian Foreign Minister asks for support to resettle refugees as UNHCR helps Australia shirk its international responsibilities
The Indonesian government has sought the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to jointly accelerate the handling of refugees and asylum seekers that are currently residing in Indonesia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi voiced the matter while receiving a courtesy call from Assistant for the UNHCR High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk, according to a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Regional Ministerial Conference on the 6th "Bali Process" on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons, and Transnational Crime or BRMC VI in Bali on Tuesday (March 22).
"As a transit country, Indonesia lauds the role and support of UNHCR in handling the refugees," noted the foreign minister in a joint press statement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marsudi also stressed the importance of the Bali Process Conference to find a comprehensive solution to the issue of irregular migrants.
At the meeting, the two officials also discussed cooperation to find solutions to the root cause of the problem of handling irregular migrants in the region, both in the affected countries and the international community, based on the burden-sharing principle and shared responsibility.
Based on data from the UNHCR, until February 2016, a total of 13,829 migrants, comprising 7,560 asylum seekers and 6,269 refugees who came from 44 countries, were residing in Indonesia.
According to the record, there are 1,030 refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar, including those that arrived in Aceh in May 2015.
Refugees and asylum seekers are provided shelters at 13 immigration detention centers (Rudenim) scattered across Indonesia.
"Regional agreement" affirms Australia's obsession with stopping people from seeking asylum, and criminalising refugees throughout South East Asia [Foreign Minister and Minister for Immigration Media Release - 23/3/16]
Evidently there is a schism between neocon apologists and humanitarians within the UNHCR ---> ... However, since the Australian government cut its resettlement programs — effectively barring the UN Refugee Agency from submitting any new cases registered in Indonesia since July 2014 — asylum seekers and refugees have found themselves stranded in Indonesia.
Since the cessation of settlement programs in Australia the burden of processing new arrivals in Indonesia, and finding a safe place for them, is straining organizations that were already struggling to deal with the influx.
"We're trying our best to provide the most vulnerable refugees with assistance," Vargas says, "but we unfortunately have a very limited budget given the terrible crisis that we are seeing right now globally, with the refugee situation."
... UNHCR says that Australia's policy of pushing boats back into harm's way, and essentially assisting ruthless smugglers, is unacceptable.
"From UNHCR's point of view any state that intercepts a boat in international waters, or in their own territorial waters, becomes responsible for the safety of the passengers on that boat, including refugees and asylum seekers," country representative Vargas says. ... [Jakarta Globe - 21/3/16]
... Excursions to the world behind fences are events longed for after months or years of confinement.
Being detained in immigration detention, they feel like being in a prison, restrained.
As soon as they get the chance to see the outside world, they were absolutely delighted, even though some limitations are still applied.
The detainees have to wear uniform shirts provided by JRS. ... [Jesuit Refugee Service Indonesia - 3/3/16]
Former worker at Australia's concentration camp on Manus Island tells forum claim rejected because refugee "too educated" to be a Rohingya [Brisbane Times - 9/4/16]:
Brisbane maths teacher Jacob Rice taught at the Manus Island immigration detention centre in 2014 when a 23-year-old Iranian man name Reza Berati was bashed to death by security guards during a riot by hunger strikers [when refugees were attacked].
One of the friends the teacher-turned-whistleblower made while working on Manus for nine months was a Rohingya maths teacher.
His friend is still in indefinite detention as his application for asylum had just been rejected on the grounds that he was educated.
The man has told his family that they should consider him dead.
Mr Rice said the Immigration Department had rejected his friend's asylum claim because they concluded he could not be a genuine Rohingya person because members of this religious minority in Burma were not allowed to be educated.
He holds a masters degree in mathematics.
One of his daughters was studying medicine while the other had won a maths competition. ...
Free the Children NAURU [8/4/16]:
DAY 20 of our PEACEFUL protesting.
We are standing, chanting, singing and just showing you that we exist.
Peter Dutton says we are not in detention. He says we are free! Is freedom being allowed to walk out of a gate when we behave in certain way and brutalised when we raise our voice.
If we are free why is security even standing there provoking us, tormenting us, preventing our freedom to show you our existence?
We have to hide like criminal just to take a photo. Please Australia, please change your Government. Please help us.
"Opposition", Greens and human rights groups still silent as Dutton's lies exposed by Nauru refugees and allegations of death threats emerge [ABC - 8/4/16]:
... YASAMAN BAGHERI: They've, they've many times say that if they could, they would kill us all. They hate us, they don't want us.
PETER LLOYD: Again, are you saying they have explicitly made statements that they would like to kill you?
YASAMAN BAGHERI: Yes.
PETER LLOYD: Who said that?
YASAMAN BAGHERI: There were some security who said that.
PETER LLOYD: From which company, Wilson?
YASAMAN BAGHERI: Yes, there is only Wilson Security company here, security company.
PETER LLOYD: And can you identify the person or people that say that?
YASAMAN BAGHERI: We don't know their names but in that letter I will send you, we have described them and there is also other security.
You know, in that moment it was dark and we couldn't really recognise them, plus that we hadn't seen many of them before. They were all new and a different professional team that came for that night.
PETER LLOYD: Are you saying this threat to kill you was made that night or has been made previously?
YASAMAN BAGHERI: That night mostly.
PETER LLOYD: They said they wanted to kill you?
YASAMAN BAGHERI: Yes.
'I'm pretty sure he said shoot that guy': Nauru guard [VIDEO - ABC - 13/8/15]
Australian guards jest about shooting refugee ‘c*nts’ and ‘f*ckers’ on Nauru [RT - 14/8/15]
... “Wilson Security is in effect the on-island Gestapo. [Because of Nauruan police apathy] Wilson becomes the be-all and end-all. You take ex-military members just returned from Afghanistan, Iraq and put them in charge of care for the same people they were fighting six months before and expect them to be compassionate? You’re an idiot.” ... [The Saturday Paper - 9/4/16]
A whistleblower who worked at the Manus Island refugee detention centre in Papua New Guinea has spoken out in an exclusive interview with Dateline, condemning it as not even fit to “serve as a dog kennel”. [VIDEO - SBS - 23/7/13]
Further claims of rapes among Manus Island detainees and disturbing violent incidents including two escapes, a violent protest against the centre doctors and a slashing attack, have been revealed by a detention centre guard.
The Papua New Guinea national, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job, also alleged that G4S, the security company running the centre, was making huge profits by exploiting local labour and paying meagre salaries of about $40 a day. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 26/7/13]
Indefinitely detained asylum seeker jailed 9 1/2 years for drug smuggling [West Australian - 8/4/16]
... When it comes to unaccompanied migrant children facing deportation, the difference between the haves and the have-nots is stark. Those who get pro bono legal representation early on, like Yeisy, are far more likely to successfully make their case for asylum or other protections that would allow them to stay in the U.S. Those who don’t almost always get deported. ... [Buzzfeed - 8/4/16]
Obama deports 85 Muslim asylum seekers to Bangladesh [Democracy Now - 8/4/16]:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has sparked backlash and controversy with his proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States—including refugees and asylum seekers. But deporting Muslim asylum seekers is nothing new.
This week, the Obama administration deported 85 Muslim asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal who were seeking asylum after fleeing repression and violence in their home countries.
Some of the men deported from Corrections Corporations of America’s Florence Correctional Center in Arizona on Sunday night had participated in a series of hunger strikes last year to protest their ongoing detention by ICE, the Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency, and demand their release from for-profit detention centers. Some of the men have been detained for years.
Following the deportation, an ICE official told Democracy Now!: "All of those on last weekend’s flight had been provided the opportunity to present their cases in immigration court, were issued final orders of removal, and had no outstanding stays that would prohibit their removal."
We are joined by Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up & Moving, or DRUM, a New York-based organization of South Asian immigrant workers and youth.
After the deportation, Ahmed said, "The Obama administration just deported nearly 100 South Asian detainees who crossed three continents seeking safety in the U.S. What happens to them next is blood on his hands." ...
UN rights office expresses concern about death sentences in Bangladesh [Media Release - 8/4/16]
Greece: UN agency urges full hearings for stranded refugee and migrant children [Media Release - 8/4/16]
Why the brutalised become brutal [VIDEO - TRNN/teleSUR - 5/4/16]:
Following the attacks in Brussels and the attacks in Paris, there has been an outcry for increased military force against the territory ISIS controls, more draconian infringements upon civil liberties in Europe as a way to curb Islamic radicalism or terrorism. And yet, absent from that discussion is the state terror that we visit, and have visited, fifteen years in Afghanistan, thirteen years in Iraq, which has created forms of brutalization and rage that fuel directly these attacks and further attacks to come.
And with me [Chris Hedges] to discuss this reality are two combat veterans Michael Hanes, who served in the US Marines Corp from 1994 to 2004. He was in Iraq in 2003 in the most senior recon platoon, that's the equivalent of, Marines equivalent of the Seals, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company Marine, 1st Marine Division. He was engaged in direct action raids in Baghdad. He currently works for Veterans for Peace as an activist and problem solver and aids veterans in the transition process, especially putting them back in touch with nature.
Also joining me is Rory Fanning. He served in two deployments in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2004. He was in the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion, he also is a war resister and Donald Trump resister, was in the Chicago, helped shut down the Chicago rally of Trump. There's something to be proud of. He's the author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger's Journey Out of the Military and Across America. He also walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008 and 2009 and is, like Michael, a member of Veterans for Peace.
HANES: Moral Injury, and moral injury is huge with the conflict with Iraq and Afghanistan and I think that has a direct reflection with the extremely high suicide rate that we see that is estimated about 22 per day.
HEDGES: There are Iraq and Afghan vets?
HANES: Yes. Yeah, twenty-two per day.
HEDGES: Just from Iraq and Afghanistan? Wow, I didn't know that.
HANES: Right. That's a tremendously high number. We're sold the idea of, hey, we're going to go liberate a people. We're fighting terrorism and then we get in the mix of things and realize we're the ones terrorizing the people there. That really torments you psychologically. I've lost a few friends due to suicide. I think that a lot of, I went through this when I got back, isolation is a big thing. Initially, you have your phases, your isolation, your anger, then you finally get to the point where you want to do something about it, talk about it, and make a difference.
This week we take a look at the multiple converging flashpoints of resistance in France, which have combined into a popular movement that has inspired over a million peeps to take to the streets in a massive expression of collective rage.
From there we move onto a take-down of “the Donald”, and try to answer the question of why his angry message is resonating with millions of Americans. We finish things up with an interview with Crimethinc operative B Traven, who explains what anarchists have against democracy. Paris is burning! [Submedia.tv - VIDEO - 4/4/16]
Big union leaders betray Sanders and workers, Ralph Nader [Counterpunch - 8/4/16]
A Queensland Labor Senate candidate has been working as a political strategist for gas giant Santos in the lead up to his run at this year’s federal election.
Anthony Chisholm, the former state Labor campaign director credited with toppling Campbell Newman’s LNP government last year, began working for Santos six months ago just before the party confirmed he was on its ticket. ... [Guardian - 8/4/16]
... OH...BUT LOOK....HERE ARE A COUPLE OF NEWSCORP JOURNALISTS WITH "SKIN IN THE GAME".... [via Manning Clean Water Action Group]
Australian government withholds funeral as "deterrence" weapon against refugees, with full support of the "opposition" [Canberra Times - 8/4/16]:
Each day when he finished work as a tiler, Qurban Ali drove home, showered and Skyped his family. He listened to stories from his four young children, and chatted to his wife about the car they would buy, and where they would live, when they finally came to Australia.
But one day last September, Mr Ali did not call. He was killed that morning on the on-ramp of Melbourne's South Gippsland Freeway, when a cement truck ploughed into his car.
The widow of an Afghani refugee isn't being allowed in to Australia to bury her husband seven months after his death, according to migration agent Marion Le. ...
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Friday offered condolences to the victim families of those killed or wounded in recent suicide attack in the Siah Gird district of central Parwan province, his office said.
At least nine civilians were killed and 30 others wounded in the suicide attack in the Siah Gird district late on Tuesday. ... [Pajhwok - 8/4/16]
"Senior Taliban leader" among 10 killed in Afghan forces raids in Nuristan [Khaama - 8/4/16]
Senior Afghan Taliban proposes US talks [Al Jazeera - 8/4/16]
At least four militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in a drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
According to the local government officials, the militants were targeted in a drone strike in Achin district earlier today.
Provincial governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani confirmed the airstrike and said at least three Taliban insurgents were also targeted in a separate drone strike.
He said the raid was conducted in Chaparhar district of Nangarhar province, leaving 3 militants dead, including a commander of the militant group.
The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.
This comes as the US Air Force has reportedly dropped 251 bombs and missiles targeting mainly the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan during the months of January and February.
According to the data compiled by the Air Force, the airstrikes in the first two months of the year was more than three times the strikes in the same period last year.
The increase in airstrikes followed by President Barack Obama’s grant of authority to launch attacks on Islamic State militants who had gained control over territory in several provinces, including areas in the Tora Bora region, where Osama bin Laden once took refuge. [Khaama - 7/4/16]
9 April 2016